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IX. What is the type of word-building by which the italicized words in the following extracts were made?


1. If they'd anything to say to each other, they could hob-nob2 over beef-tea in a perfectly casual and natural manner. 2. No sooner had he departed than we were surrounded by cats, six of them, all miaowing piteously at once. 3. A man who has permitted himself to be made a thorough fool of is not anxious to broadcast the fact. 4. "He must be a very handsome fellow," said Sir Eustace. "Some young whipper-snapper3 in Durban." 5. In South Africa you at once begin to talk about a stoep — I do know what a stoep is — it's the thing round a house and you sit on it. In various other parts of the world you call it a veranda, a piazza, and a ha-ha4 6. All about him black metal pots were boiling and bubbling on huge stoves, and kettles were hissing, and pans were sizzling, and strange iron machines were clanking and spluttering. 7.1 took the lib of barging in. 8. I'd work for him, slave for him, steal for him, even beg or borrow for him. 9. I've been meaning to go to the good old exhibish for a long time. 10. Twenty years of bulling had trained him to wear a mask.


X. Define the particular type of word-building process by which the following words were made and say as much as you can about them.


A mike; to babysit; to buzz; a torchlight; homelike; theatrical; old-fashioned; to book; unreasonable; SALT;5 Anglo-American; to murmur; a pub; to dillydally; okay; eatable; a make; a greenhorn;6 posish; a dress coat;7 to bang; merry-go-round; H-bag; B.B.C.; thinnish; to blood-transfuse; a go; to quack; M.P.; to thunder; earthquake; D-region8; fatalism; a find.

XI. Read the following extract. Consider the italicized words in respect of a) word-building, b) etymology and say everything you know about each of them.


Dear Kind-Trustee-Who-Sends-Orphans-to-College,9

Here I am! I travelled yesterday for four hours in a train. It's a funny sensation, isn't it? I never rode in one before.

College is the biggest, most bewildering place. I get lost whenever I leave my room.

I love college and I love you for sending me — I'm very, very happy, and so excited every moment of the time, that I can hardly sleep. You can't imagine how different it is from the John Grier Home. I never dreamed there was such a place in the world. I'm feeling sorry for everybody who isn't a girl and who can't come here, I am sure the college you attended when you were a boy couldn't have been so nice.

My room is up in a tower. There are three other girls on the same floor of the tower — a Senior who wears spectacles and is always asking us please to be a little more quiet, and two Freshmen named Sallie McBride and Julia Rutledge Pendleton. Sallie has red hair and a turn-up nose and is quite friendly; Julia comes from one of the first families in New York and hasn't noticed me yet. They room together and the Senior and I have singles.

Usually Freshmen can't get singles; they are very few, but I got one without even asking. I suppose the register didn't think it would be right to ask a. properly brought up girl to room with a foundling. You see there are advantages.

(From Daddy-Long-Legs by J. Webster)




What Is "Meaning"?


Language is the amber in which

a thousand precious and subtle

thoughts have been safely

embedded and preserved

(From Word and Phrase by J. Fitzgerald)


The question posed by the title of this chapter is one of those questions which are easier to ask than answer The linguistic science at present is not able to put forward a definition of meaning which is conclusive.

However, there are certain facts of which we can be reasonably sure, and one of them is that the very function of the word as a unit of communication is made possible by its possessing a meaning. Therefore, among the word's various characteristics, meaning is certainly the most important.

Generally speaking, meaning can be more or less described as a component of the word through which a concept is communicated, in this way endowing the word with the ability of denoting real objects, qualities actions and abstract notions. The complex and somewhat mysterious relationships between referent (object, etc. denoted by the word), concept and word are traditionally represented by the following triangle [35]:



By the "symbol" here is meant the word; thought or reference is concept. The dotted line suggests that there is no immediate relation between word and referent: it is established only through the concept.

On the other hand, there is a hypothesis that concepts can only find their realization through words. It seems that thought is dormant till the word wakens it up. It is only when we hear a spoken word or read a printed word that the corresponding concept springs into mind.

The mechanism by which concepts (i. e. mental phenomena) are converted into words (i. e. linguistic phenomena) and the reverse process by which a heard or a printed word is converted into a kind of mental picture are not yet understood or described. Probably that is the reason why the process of communication through words, if one gives it some thought, seems nothing short of a miracle. Isn't it fantastic that the mere vibrations of a speaker's vocal chords should be taken up by a listener's brain and converted into vivid pictures? If magic does exist in the world, then it is truly the magic of human speech; only we are so used to this miracle that we do not realize its almost supernatural qualities.

The branch of linguistics which specializes in the study of meaning is called semantics. As with many terms, the term "semantics" is ambiguous for it can stand, as well, for the expressive aspect of language in general and for the meaning of one particular word in all its varied aspects and nuances (i. e. the semantics of a word = the meaning(s) of a word).

As Marip Pei puts it in The Study of Language, "Semantics is 'language' in its broadest, most inclusive aspect. Sounds, words, grammatical forms, syntactical constructions are the tools of language. Semantics is language's avowed purpose."[39]

The meanings of all the utterances of a speech community are said by another leading linguist to include the total experience of that community; arts, science, practical occupations, amusements, personal and family life.

The modern approach to semantics is based on the assumption that the inner form of the word (i. e. its meaning) presents a structure which is called the semantic structure of the word.

Yet, before going deeper into this problem, it is necessary to make a brief survey of another semantic phenomenon which is closely connected with it.

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